I was assigned with a bright ASD student that never ceases to make you feel warmer and happier after having a conversation with him. I taught him for exactly a year which ended up to be one of the greatest developmental periods of my entire life. By circumstance, I am currently assigned to a different student. However, I never imagined that the transition would be accompanied with uneasiness but it did. My student thought he was happy to grow apart in a different light, a new academic setting, another atmosphere with a connection to other people and I was proud of having him show such emotions. Yet, I could not help but think whether I could have been better, how could I have helped him more and was I enough? I was between doubts and reassurance. I chose the latter. I looked and searched for all signs of accomplishments and I found them. The ability to write. I started with a student that does not know how to place words together. He has enough vocabulary to form sentences but no knowledge of putting words on paper. It was a foreign experience to him and I took pleasure in teaching him the beauty of led meeting paper and most importantly my strongest attribute in the language.
My student’s spoken language was more advanced than his written one. Thus, I worked on elevating his written skills to match up with his spoken one and work on giving it a sense of structure and sequence. Syntax was my guide for this project. We had to study the main parts of speech that form sentences. It took around 2-3 weeks for him to be able to identify nouns, adjectives and verbs. After that, he began the endless writing workshops of creating sentences to paragraphs using every topic of interest. Within this were cognitive and analytical exercises that encouraged my student to be thoughtful of his structure: pluralization, noun-verb agreement and other syntax rules. The objectives were to utilize his vocabulary bank in well-developed sentences and explain the relationship of each word to the other. I stood on the belief that understanding how to develop sentences would allow him to deconstruct his ideas and construct them back in a comprehensive manner. In addition, it would allow him to physically get in touch with his identity by looking at his creation. This took around 6 months but it has been a rewarding experience indeed. I believe that I have given him some sort of independence. The ability to translate his ideas into being or surf the web in search for bigger topics in contrast to putting single words together in the search engine. The happiest thing I saw throughout this was his advanced usage of the language. Being the playful and funny person he is, the sentences he created had humor which were all syntactically correct. It did not matter if the boy was in the bag or the girl eats the door. What mattered is that he understood the basics of a “noun” being inside another “noun” for example and using a preposition to indicate that action.
I might not have given him all that I could within this year but I feel a little proud for this small initiative. If he writes, he is transmitting his existence on paper. Hence, it is evidence, a mark of being present and alive. He writes, therefore he exists and I live with him through the process. Additionally, this project enriched my character and put me in the pursuit of creating a connection to others through presenting them with the gift of making them believe in themselves. I carry the memories of this year close to my heart to remind myself that I played a part, however small that resonates significantly throughout all aspects of humanity.
Teach a person how to write, and their thoughts would live forever.